Story

After Midnight

Published Jul 11, 2014 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 13 Contributors

    13 photos selected by

    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
    National Geographic Photographers

    The Boulder River in Montana roars through the night - cascading from the Beartooth Mountains - a...

    #boulder_river #montana

    Our heartfelt thanks to the Your Shot community for submitting so many wonderful photographs. Your interpretations of After Midnight were original and inspiring. The diverse range of subject matter, vantage point, light, and imagination brought huge smiles to our faces as we viewed your images.

    Whenever we're on assignment for National Geographic magazine we're often greeted by people who remark, “I would love to be a National Geographic photographer.” That was the impetus for this Your Shot assignment: Here was your chance to be on assignment for National Geographic.

    The conditions aren't always ideal, the weather doesn't always cooperate, the light is never what you envisioned—but on a professional assignment, you still need to come home with the goods.

    We applaud everyone who confronted the challenge of making images in the wee hours, and especially for the patience you utilized in problem solving, in “working a picture” until you got it right.

    From roughly 11pm until a bit after 1am local time, I shot nearly 400 20 second exposures of the ...

    #milkyway #rural #stars #night #southdakota #time #startrails #space #church

    Editor's Note

    This photograph is beautiful in the way that The Milky Way cuts the path of the star trails in half, and how it rises from the glowing church. However, what draws us back to this picture again and again is a metaphor about the heavens and spirituality.

    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
    National Geographic Photographers

    It's 2:04 a.m. and the rain would not stop. Let's find out what it is all about.

    #new_york #jump #after_midnight #summer #selfportrait #selfie #portrait #rain #black__and_white

    Note: We received thousands of pictures from people’s archives instead of the requested new pictures made “on assignment." This was the case especially in the first few days of the assignment.

    So many of these images were great, a true inspiration to us and the viewers alike. In the published piece we remained true to the instructions, and only chose new images. However, the National Geographic Your Shot team is allowing us to publish some of our favorite archive images in an upcoming Your Shot blog post.

    Fireflies and stars having a late night party :) I am the lucky DJ :P

    #startrail #stars #green #night #longexposure #italy #lights #nature #marche #fireflies

    From the darkness she pirouette from the backstage of a show.

    #legs #boots #blue #portrait #skirt

    Every editor has different likes and prejudices. We are no different. We are drawn to images that do not use technology as a crutch and tend not to choose overly gimmicky pictures.

    We prefer images that have meaning, tell a story, or utilize metaphor—those that stretch our sensibilities as photographers. We love to be dazzled, and we love to be shocked.

    In speaking about pictures John Szarkowski, former curator of photography at MoMA, said, “They show us differently what we thought we knew.”

    An After Midnight assignment is tough with work all week. It's a Friday night and we don't reall...

    #tattoo #mother #dreaming #son #portrait #sleeping #mom #sepia #beauty #black__and_white #people #child

    Editor's Note

    This photograph is suffused with tenderness and love. The sepia toning lends itself well to the dreamy quality of the image.

    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
    National Geographic Photographers

    What do we love most about photographing after midnight? We've learned to embrace the unknown, the darkness, and how strange it can look. The poet Emily Dickinson wrote about a visit to a cemetery: “Instinct picking up the key dropped by memory.” The night is about instinct—and it is about trust. It is mysterious, magical, often surreal, but mostly dark.

    You simply can’t see everything out there, and you have to make a leap of faith and trust your intuition and instinct. Especially in the dark, the camera can “see” what the human eye cannot.

    I went out to test my new UWA lens, but it seemed that taking pictures were ruined by arriving st...

    #light #flash #apocalypse #clouds

    Editor's Note

    Some pictures are so strange and mysterious, they instantly appeal to a sixth sense. The elements that comprise this picture are actually quite simple – and if this picture were made by the light of day it might not be all that interesting. However, at night those simple elements resonate with a surreal n... More

    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
    National Geographic Photographers

    A street artist is caught vandalizing the Berlin Wall, with her shadow being her sole accomplice ...

    #berlin #germany #midnight #hands #grafitti #dark #vandalize #street #wall #art #paint

    One of my all time favorite pass times - exploring atlas/world map. I plugged the Atlas in, start...

    #portraits #atlas #people #midnight #after_midnight #globe #night #portrait

    Editor's Note

    In this picture, our eyes are first drawn to the spinning globe. Then we discover the warm soft glow falling onto the man, bringing him out of all that darkness. In particular we marvel at the dreamy glint in his eye. The photograph contains a well-executed conceptual narrative – as we imagine his mind i... More

    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
    National Geographic Photographers

    This is Manhattan, NYC at 12:19:53AM M20 bus station. There are so many stories that happen after...

    #people #aftermidnight #sleep #black_and_white #nyc #street #blackandwhite #yourshotmeetup #light

    Editor's Note

    This image captures a poignant slice of the city after midnight. The word bus “shelter” will never be the same again. The poster seen behind the sleeping man, with the words “We’re Still Here” and “Leftovers” articulate the story as beautifully as the light that bathes the street.

    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
    National Geographic Photographers

    My son got to stay up late to help his Dad find a subject matter for my "After Midnight" assignme...

    #night #after_mid_night #myson

    The skeletons of ancient bristlecone giants reach for the heavens as a burning meteor skims acros...

    #meteors #stars #cosmos #trees #astronomy #colorado #night #bristlecones #pines

    The best photography answers no questions, but asks many. We adore pictures that tell a story—but even more important, we love pictures that suggest a narrative. Ambiguity in a photograph is sometimes better than clarity, for it lets the imagination run wild.

    Many of you seemed quite adept at photographing in low-light conditions, while others were working through the challenges for the first time. We want to applaud all of you who left your comfort zone behind and took a real chance. It’s not easy going out on a limb—especially after midnight.

    I've learned a lot doing this assignment and tried out some new things that have pushed me out of...

    #sun #lady #night #tundra #arctic #clouds #sunset #portrait #dog #fairbank #light #sky #alaska #midnight

    Editor's Note

    We had many midnight sun pictures submitted – but none as good as this one in Alaska. This image does what a good picture should – it makes us want to be in that moment.

    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
    National Geographic Photographers

    About the Editor
    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel
    National Geographic Photographers
    Diane Cook and Len Jenshel are two of America's foremost landscape photographers, exploring issues of beauty, boundary, culture, and the control of nature. They were married in 1983 and began collaborating in 1990. They have worked for many magazines, published numerous books, and are the recipients of many prestigious awards ...
    113 comments
    saad uddin
    saad uddin

    Very nice the all pictures is speaking something.

    Jacqueline Lalande
    Jacqueline Lalande

    Thank you for compiling and sharing these so all different and "speaking" photos.

    john Johnson
    john Johnson

    Some amazing things are going on in the world when we are asleep.

    Shivji Joshi
    Shivji Joshi

    Wonderful images capturing midnight mood very well

    Alice Symes
    Alice Symes

    Amazing shots all of them - so beautiful, it is amazing what can be captured on camera, hopefully one day with a lot more experience I can do also

    Vincenzo Piramide
    Vincenzo Piramide

    Great work coming from all photographers and interesting and nice selection shown in the story above.

    Congratulations to all!

    Prem Rose
    Prem Rose

    Awesome photography by all the participants.

    Shweta V.
    Shweta V.

    Lovely pics.. they all tell a different story..

    kaspar d.
    kaspar d.

    all are great picture..awesome, beautiful,

    Joydeep D.
    Joydeep D.

    Some fact sheet about this exceptional assignment (due to the requirements):

    • This is the 1st assignment out of 23 with submission limit of 5 photos.
    • This is the only assignment so far where only new photos taken during the assignment time have been considered.
    • In terms of number of story contributors in ascending order, this assignment is in 2nd place among all 22 published stories, 13 contributors while 1st is the very 1st assignment in Your Shot "Everyday Explorations" with 9 contributors.

    Araz Kelian
    Araz Kelian

    Very interesting photographs. Congrats to all who made the story...

    Its very touching the one with the sleeping man on the street...! too sad but beautiful picture.

    Kip Keino
    Kip Keino

    very good indeed. Amazing world.

    Raj Kishor Yadav
    Raj Kishor Yadav

    Excellent work, Congratulations to all the Contributors!

    J. Grinyar
    J. Grinyar

    I am even more inspired now - THANK YOU! again for challenging all of us - with these selected photos, each individual one stands out in its own way of representing "after midnight"...and make me sit and not only admire them, but dang it try to figure out how they were able to capture it!  :)


    A hard job for our editors, but kudos, you did selected photos that go beyond!

    Alok Das
    Alok Das

     Congratulations to all the participants, heartily thanks to Diane Cook and Len Jenshel for their great selection.

    Lin Teichman
    Lin Teichman

    Love the variety of choices! Lots going on after midnight, it seems!

    Barbara Van Meter
    Barbara Van Meter

    Congrats to all that made the cut. Some very magical photos. It's true... a picture is worth a 1,000 words and these tell quite the story. 

    Tess Taaca
    Tess Taaca

    Such fabulous photographs! Well done!

    Lexalex Pongsendana
    Lexalex Pongsendana

    Congratulations for all contributors who got this reward. Wonderful assignment.

    Koichi H.
    Koichi H.

    Congraturations to all photographers chosen as a winners.  Every photos were excellent.  Thank you Diane and Lens for this wonderful assingment. 

    Rossitsa Iordanova
    Rossitsa Iordanova

    Congratulations to all the winners!

    I loved and admired some of the photos. 

    Others .... well,  they just didn't "speak' to me, though beautiful captures in themselves! 

    But all in all, a wonderful collection, representing perfectly the topic! :)

    BRAVI!!!

    Armando Froio
    Armando Froio

    I didn't understand if for this assigment was mandatory to submit a "new photo" and not the ones already present in the own gallery.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Anurag Sethi
    Anurag Sethi

    Congratulations to all the photographers whose photos are published.

    Robert Fried
    Robert Fried

    @Muhammed Twair Yep but nikon can not do as good as canon with the superb L series lenses. hahaha Also if you don't have a good and creative photographer your equipment won't mater much unless you have beginners luck. bigger hahahaha.

    Members Published In the Story